A former Texas Tech employee told a Lubbock police detective he stole from the university and from two other businesses to support his addiction to playing the Texas Lottery.
A Lubbock County grand jury indicted Tuesday Douglas Sims on a three third-degree felony counts of theft between $20,000 to $100,000.
Prosecutors accuse Sims of stealing thousands of items from three companies including Tech and pawned them at four pawn shops and at a metal scrap yard in Lubbock, according to an arrest warrant.
Sims later told Lubbock police Det. Bradley McMahan he initially lied to him about not stealing Tech property to save his job.
Sims is listed as an asbestos compliance manager for Tech’s engineering services, according to the Tech staff directory online.
However, officials said Sims’ indictment only alleges items stolen from two contracting companies.
More charges alleging theft from Tech may follow, the officials said.
Tech spokesman Chris Cook said Sims was fired earlier this month.
McMahan reported he went through a database pawn shops and jewelry stores update and discovered Sims received more than $56,000 from selling 1,076 items from pawn shops between January 2012 to June 27, the warrant states.
The items pawned included surveying equipment such as a level, a survey magnet and tripods; construction equipment such as a drill, a grinder and a power inverter; and air testing equipment such as a vaporizer, a pump and a microscope.
The items belonged to Wilkerson Properties and to X8 Environmental, for whom Sims worked on a part-time or contractual basis.
The owners of the firms said Sims had authority to use the property but not to pawn it.
After conducting surveillance on Sims, McMahan interviewed Sims at his office at Tech.
The detective reported Sims knew why he was there and admitted to pawning the property to pay back loans.
Sims initially denied stealing Tech property, but later admitted to stealing from the school.
McMahan reported Sims confessed to his employers he stole their property and was willing to return the property and make amends.
Sims left the detective a voicemail saying “I got pretty stupid there, and greedy.”
Sims also provided a list of items he pawned without permission, the warrant states.
Sims blamed his actions on his addiction to playing the Texas Lottery. He told McMahan his gambling addiction nearly cost him his marriage.
McMahan reported Sims gave him consent to search his vehicle and the detective found golf clubs, pawn tickests and literature on addiction recovery, the warrant states.
Sims was arrested July 14 and was released on bond July 17, according to court records.
A third-degree felony carries a punishment of two to 10 years in prison.